Wednesday, March 22

Lincoln celebrates a century building luxury cars | Digital Trends Spanish

On November 3, 1901, based on the success of the motorized quadricycle he was building in his Detroit home garage, Henry Ford founded a company with which he intended to build automobiles. But before long the bankers who financed the “Henry Ford Company”, horrified by the young builder’s idea of ​​producing a cheap car for the masses, fired Ford and replaced him as the company’s president and chief engineer with Henry Leland. famous local engineer, who renamed the company the Cadillac Automobile Company.

Cadillacs quickly acquired a reputation for quality and luxury vehicles. The company was acquired by General Motors in 1909 to build prestige cars, retaining Leland as its president. But Leland’s methods, which ensured the quality enjoyed by early Cadillacs, were too slow, complicated, and costly for General Motors. Leland spun off the operation in 1917 to found the Lincoln Motor Company.

1932 Lincoln V-8 business coupe.

Lincoln began its activities building Liberty V12 engines for use during World War I. Once the conflict ended, the company was reorganized to build motor vehicles.

In September 1920 Lincoln produced its first vehicle: the Lincoln L-Series, an imposing car that directly competed with the Rolls-Royce and Mercedes-Benz of the time, but it was considered an old-fashioned car and did not sell as well as it did. I expected. The company fell into dire financial straits, and on February 4, 1922, 100 years ago, it was acquired by the all-powerful Ford Motor Company, the company founded by Henry Ford in 1903, with which he was finally able to fulfill his dream of making a car. cheap for the masses, becoming the richest man in America.

Henry and Edsel Ford (left), Henry and Wilfred Leland (right) sign the purchase agreement for the Lincoln Motor Company on February 4, 1922.

As when he sold Cadillac to General Motors, Leland reached an agreement with the Fords to remain with his son Wilfred in the company, which was put under the control of Edsel Ford, Henry’s son who was a talented car designer. cars and a sharp businessman. Again Leland’s now antiquated industrial methods collided with Ford’s modern mass production techniques and the Lelands left Lincoln four months after the acquisition.

Lincoln soon became a laboratory for innovations under Edsel’s guidance. The 1936 Lincoln Zephyr with its V12 engine was the first successful full-body car sold in America, and the first to feature a one-piece, rear-hinged, alligator-opening engine cover.

In 1939 Lincoln produced the Sunshine Special, the first purpose-built car to serve as a presidential limousine at the White House based on the huge and sumptuous Lincoln K-Series, while two years later in 1941 the Lincoln Continental created the coupe concept. personal, a type of automobile that became a symbol of success and individualism in America for the rest of the 20th century.

Edsel’s untimely death at age 49 in 1943, during the World War II hiatus in new car manufacturing, did not stop Lincoln’s plans. In 1949 Lincoln launched the Cosmopolitan, a modern automobile that served as the basis for the second presidential limousine. In 1955 an independent effort within Ford created the Continental Mark II, one of the most celebrated and admired American automobiles of all time, which was sold as a 1956 and 1957 model year.

In 1961, a new Lincoln Continental, for the first time with four doors, rear hinged suicide doors, became the most popular luxury car in the country and was the basis for a new presidential limousine, aboard the which President John F. Kennedy was shot dead in 1963.

President John F. Kennedy in the 1961 Lincoln Continental presidential limousine moments before his assassination.

In 1968 the explosive success of the Lincoln Continental Mark III, a modern reinterpretation of the original 1941 Continental, energized sales of Lincoln and personal luxury coupes and created a new automotive dynasty that ended with the retirement without replacement of the Lincoln Mark VIII in 1998.

In late 1997, Lincoln created the lucrative luxury SUV segment with the arrival of the first Lincoln Navigator, a type of car never seen before, but now no luxury car brand, including Bentley and Rolls-Royce. , dispense. The success of the Navigator put Lincoln for the first time in its history in the first place of sales in luxury cars in the United States in the last years of the 20th century.

Lincoln Navigator 1998

Today Lincoln no longer makes sedans or coupes in the United States, an unfortunate fact that responds to the preferences of the domestic public, but it does have a modern line of four beautiful SUVs led by the fourth generation of the Navigator, and which includes two plug-in hybrid variants. of the medium Aviator and the compact Corsair. Lincoln also promised to show off its first electric model this year, It will debut in the US and Chinese markets, likely in 2023, and will be one of a group of four new models based on the brand’s new flexible electric vehicle architecture. Lincoln’s goal is that by 2025 half of its global sales will be made up of zero emission vehicles.

Current line of Lincoln models.

In addition to the United States, Canada and Mexico, Lincoln has a presence in the Middle East, South Korea, and China where a new Lincoln Zephyr sedan just debuted and is not expected to arrive in North America.

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